11 Best Books On Economics: Must Read By All At Least In 2021

Updated: Feb 20

This is the list of best books on economics and behavioral economics everyone should read. The list includes ground-breaking books in the world of economics by award-winning authors that might open your eyes to conventional views.


“An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today.” _Laurence J. Peter

INDEX

  1. Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems

  2. Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

  3. Capital in the Twenty-First Century

  4. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

  5. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

  6. Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy

  7. Free to Choose: A Personal Statement

  8. The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and How to Build a Better Economy

  9. The Road to Serfdom – Text and Documents – The Definitive Edition: 02

  10. Thinking, Fast and Slow

  11. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything


1. Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems

Amazon rating: 4.5/5

Hardcover: 416 Pages

Authors: Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee


About the book:

Winners of 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics

Figuring out how to deal with today’s critical economic problems is the great challenge of our time. Much greater than space travel, perhaps even than curing cancer – what is at stake is the whole idea of the good life and, perhaps, of liberal democracy itself. We have the resources to solve these problems; what we lack are ideas that will help us jump the wall of disagreement and distrust that divides us. Is opening up to international trade good for everybody? Do immigrants from poorer countries take away jobs from low-income native workers? Why is inequality exploding everywhere? Does redistribution actually undermine incentives? Should we worry about the rise of artificial intelligence or celebrate it? How do we manage the trade-off between growth and climate change? Is economic growth over in the West? Should we care?



2. Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty

Amazon rating: 4.5/5

Hardcover: 546 Pages

Authors: Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson


About the book:

Two of the world's best and most erudite economists turn to the hardest issue of all: why are some nations poor and others rich? Written with a deep knowledge of economics and political history, this is perhaps the most powerful statement made to date that 'institutions matter.' A provocative, instructive, yet thoroughly enthralling book.

For those who think that a nation's economic fate is determined by geography or culture, Daron Acemoglu and Jim Robinson have bad news. It's man-made institutions, not the lay of the land or the faith of our forefathers, that determine whether a country is rich or poor. Synthesizing brilliantly the work of theorists from Adam Smith to Douglass North with more recent empirical research by economic historians, Acemoglu and Robinson have produced a compelling and highly readable book. And their conclusion is a cheering one: the authoritarian "extractive" institutions like the ones that drive growth in China today are bound to run out of steam. Without the inclusive institutions that first evolved in the West, sustainable growth is impossible, because only a truly free society can foster genuine innovation and the creative destruction that is its corollary. (Niall Ferguson, author of 'The Ascent of Money')



3. Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Amazon rating: 4.5/5

Hardcover: 816 Pages

Authors: Thomas Piketty


About the book:

A New York Times #1 Bestseller.

Winner of the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award.

Winner of the British Academy Medal.

Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award

The world today is returning towards "patrimonial capitalism", in which much of the economy is dominated by inherited wealth: the power of this economic class is increasing, threatening to create an oligarchy. Piketty cites novels by Honoré de Balzac, Jane Austen and Henry James to describe the rigid class structure based on accumulated capital that existed in England and France in the early 1800s. He proposes that a progressive annual global wealth tax of up to 2%, combined with a progressive income tax reaching as high as 80%, would reduce inequality, although he says that such a tax "would be politically impossible". Without tax adjustment, Piketty predicts a world of low economic growth and extreme inequality. His data show that over long periods of time, the average return on investment outpaces productivity-based income by a wide margin. He dismisses the idea that bursts of productivity resulting from technological advances can be relied on to return sustained economic growth; we should not expect "a more just and rational order" to arise based on "caprices of technology", and return on investment can increase when technology can be substituted for people.



4. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Amazon rating: 4.3/5

Hardcover: 480 Pages

Authors: Nassim Nicholas Taleb


About the book:

The book shows you what the Wall Street crash, the invention of the wheel, and Pompeii have in common. It also shows you what Catherine the Great's lovers can show you about the concept of probability. This book is all about black swans, which are the random incidents in our lives, irrespective of how big or small they might be. Through a number of examples, the author aims to show his readers how rare and unpredictable events have a deep and lasting impact on a person's life. Human beings tend to try and rationalize such happenings almost immediately after they happen. This is an almost impossible task since such events are based on chance. A number of other topics, which relate to aesthetics, ways of life, knowledge, and much more, have been discussed in this book.



5. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Amazon rating: 4.7/5

Hardcover: 576 Pages

Authors: Naomi Klein


About the book:

A brilliant book written with a perfectly distilled anger channeled through hard facts. She has indeed surpassed No Logo ― Independent

Around the world in Britain, the United States, Asia, and the Middle East, there are people with power who are cashing in on chaos; exploiting bloodshed and catastrophe to brutally remake our world in their image. They are the shock doctors. Exposing these global profiteers, Naomi Klein discovered information and connections that shocked even her about how comprehensively the shock doctors' beliefs now dominate our world - and how this domination has been achieved. Raking in billions out of the tsunami, plundering Russia, exploiting Iraq - this is the chilling tale of how a few are making a killing while more are getting killed.



6. Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy

Amazon rating: 4.8/5

Hardcover: 704 Pages

Authors: Thomas Sowell


About the book:

Basic Economics is a citizen's guide to economics, written for those who want to understand how the economy works but have no interest in jargon or equations. Bestselling economist Thomas Sowell explains the general principles underlying different economic systems: capitalist, socialist, feudal, and so on. In readable language, he shows how to critique economic policies in terms of the incentives they create, rather than the goals they proclaim. With clear explanations of the entire field, from rent control and the rise and fall of businesses to the international balance of payments, this is the first book for anyone who wishes to understand how the economy functions.



7. Free to Choose: A Personal Statement

Amazon rating: 4.7/5

Hardcover: 338 Pages

Authors: Milton Friedman, Rose Friedman


About the book:

It maintains that the free market works best for all members of a society, provides examples of how the free market engenders prosperity and maintains that it can solve problems where other approaches have failed. It was primarily a response to an earlier landmark book and television series The Age of Uncertainty, by the noted economist John Kenneth Galbraith. Milton Friedman won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1976.

They argue that international free trade has been restricted through tariffs and protectionism while domestic free trade and freedom have been limited through high taxation and regulation. They cite the 19th-century United Kingdom, the United States before the Great Depression, and modern Hong Kong as ideal examples of a minimalist economic policy. They contrast the economic growth of Japan after the Meiji Restoration and the economic stagnation of India after its independence from the British Empire and argue that India has performed worse despite its superior economic potential due to its centralized planning. They argue that even countries with command economies, including the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, have been forced to adopt limited market mechanisms in order to operate.



8. The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and How to Build a Better Economy

Amazon rating: 4.6/5

Hardcover: 336 Pages

Authors: Stephanie Kelton


About the book:

Kelton is to modern monetary theory what Milton Friedman was to American conservatives for a half-century - conversational, fierce, relentless. ― Financial Times

What is the best way to balance the risk of inflation against the benefits of a society that is more broadly prosperous, safer, cleaner, and secure? Rather than asking the self-defeating question of how to pay for the crucial improvements our society needs, Kelton guides us to ask: which deficits actually matter? Stephanie Kelton's brilliant exploration of modern monetary theory (MMT) dramatically, changes our understanding of how we can best deal with crucial issues ranging from poverty and inequality to creating jobs, expanding health care coverage, climate change, and building resilient infrastructure. Any ambitious proposal, however, inevitably runs into the buzz saw of how to find the money to pay for it, rooted in myths about deficits that are hobbling us as a country.



9. The Road to Serfdom – Text and Documents – The Definitive Edition: 02

Amazon rating: 4.7/5

Hardcover: 304 Pages

Authors: F A Hayek


About the book:

"In my opinion, it is a grand book. . . . Morally and philosophically I find myself in agreement with virtually the whole of it: and not only in agreement with it, but in deeply moved agreement." --John Maynard Keynes

An unimpeachable classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics, "The Road to Serfdom" has inspired and infuriated politicians, scholars, and general readers for half a century. Originally published in 1944 - when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program - "The Road to Serfdom" was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would lead not to a utopia but to the horrors of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.



10. Thinking, Fast and Slow

Amazon rating: 4.4/5

Hardcover: 512 Pages

Authors: Daniel Kahneman


About the book:

Thinking, Fast and Slow is a best-selling book published in 2011 by Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureate & a world-famous psychologist Daniel Kahneman.

Daniel Kahneman's work with Amos Tversky is the subject of Michael Lewis's best-selling The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds. He reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives―and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. He takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation―each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.



11. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Amazon rating: 4.4/5

Hardcover: 352 Pages

Authors: Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner


About the book:

“Steven Levitt has the most interesting mind in America... Prepare to be dazzled.” (Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point)

Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author, and journalist. The book is a collection of articles written by Levitt, an expert who had gained a reputation for applying economic theory to diverse subjects not usually covered by "traditional" economists. Levitt has written answers to most odd questions like, what do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? How is the Ku Klux Klan like a group of real-estate agents? Why do drug dealers still live with their mom? Where have all the criminals gone? What makes a perfect parent? Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, they show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.

HAPPY READING!!

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